Southampton v Watford
Saturday September 9, 15:00
Saints still learning under Pellegrini
Three Premier League matches have yielded five points and Saints occupy eighth place in the early table. Those points were secured in vastly contrasting ways, however, and it's a little tricky to get a grip on the south coast side right now. Former manager Claude Puel was criticised for his overly defensive methods but a pair of 0-0 draws suggest little has changed so far under Mauricio Pellegrini. And yet the solitary win in their Premier League sequence was a madcap 3-2 defeat of West Ham when the opposition were reduced to 10 men but so nearly forced a draw out of the trip to St Mary's.
Pellegrini has no major injury concerns ahead of this fixture.
Good vibes at Vicarage Road as clubs moves on from Mazzarri
It's been a sprightly start for the Hornets under Marco Silva and the club go into this fixture one place ahead of Saturday's opponents. That gap could have been bigger were it not for Miguel Britos's sending-off against Brighton last time out in the Premier League, the game petering out to a 0-0 draw thereafter. Summer signings Richarlison and Andre Gray have added threat to the attack, Nathan Chalobah has made the England squad three games into his Watford career proper and all-in-all this just seems a positive time to be a Watford fan.
Britos's suspension means there will be a reshuffle at the back. Craig Cathcart came on against Brighton but is a slight doubt and Younes Kaboul is out.
I am genuinely surprised to see the home side as short as [1.69] in the match odds. They're still developing under Pellegrini - as are Watford under Silva of course - but an opening day goalless draw against Swansea and that near-disaster against West Ham are unconvincing results that don't contrast well with Watford's.
They are likely to face a positive outfit on Saturday afternoon, a side that has already won on the south coast this season (0-2 at Bournemouth in the second gameweek). St Mary's wasn't much of a fortress last year and this Saints side remains largely the same as Puel's. It wouldn't surprise me if they dropped points against Watford, but rather than take those huge odds on the away win we can back them in the double chance market at [2.42] and have the draw on our side too. Betfair shrewdie Harry Phillips also rates it as a bet in this week's betting battle which adds further confidence to the wager.
Given two of Saints' games have contained no goals whatsoever it is a little surprising to see unders and overs so close together in the betting - [1.93] for the low total and [2.04] on the high. If you widen Southampton's form out to include the end of last season you see that the low-scoring trend is still strong - they have failed to score in eight of the last 11.
Even with Watford having to field a second-string central defender, that [1.93] looks generous. In a similar vein, the [1.91] on 'No' in the both teams to score market is enticing.
Lee Probert has only taken charge of one game this season and it produced a solitary yellow. He averaged three per match in 2016-17 so don't expect too many card.
Joe Dyer's Premier League P&L 2017-18
Staked - 1pt
Returned - 0pts
P/L - -1pt